2018 #SFTop25 finalist - Jasveen Brar
HOMETOWN: Medicine Hat, Alberta
TRADITIONAL TERRITORY: Unceded Métis and Niitsítapi (ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ, Blackfoot) territory.
Jasveen believes that no matter the scale, everyone has the potential to contribute to environmental education and outreach in their own ways.
She is a passionate environmentalist who spends her time as an engaged citizen voicing concerns about the environment through activism, education and outreach at local and international levels.
Environmental education and literacy has been the primary focus for Jasveen, who grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Although it was not something that she saw being advocated for in her schools or community, environmentalism was something she grew deeply passionate about.
From starting the first green club at her high school, arranging community clean up events to convincing a local grocery store to stop using plastic bags, Jasveen’s work expanded to educating youth locally and hosting workshops and public events.
Jasveen’s environmental work continued with her high school science fair project, a study that looked at the environmental distribution of the parasites Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Her project was a collaboration between health and the environment and their effects on one another. The project looked at the effectiveness and efficiency of a local wastewater treatment plant and investigated effective ways to prevent contamination through food and water.
Her project was presented to the City of Medicine Hat, and has earned her numerous awards, including a Gold Excellence Medal, an environmental challenge award at a national science fair, placement on a Top 40 under 40 list, and a Leader of Tomorrow award from the City of Medicine Hat.
Her educational efforts expanded past her local community outreach, where Jasveen is currently the Director of Our Poles Our Planet (OPOP), a national youth organization that is dedicated to raising awareness and action for the world’s polar regions. Founded by fellow explorer and friend, Robert Adragna, Jasveen was instrumental in bringing this organization to the national level.
In March of 2017, there were five Our Poles Our Planet conferences that were held across Canadian cities reaching over 1,500 youth and engaging them in polar education. Jasveen led and organized the OPOP conference held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
It was an event that reached out to both high school and university students that brought together a wide range of polar and sustainability knowledge, touching on topics of food security, species conservation and leadership. Youth at this conference were not only able to learn about anthropogenic climate change, but were able to participate in hand on workshops and meet educators and organizations in their communities that were leading local and global change.
Jasveen recently took OPOP outreach to the international level by presenting at the Pacific Climate Change Conference in Wellington, New Zealand this past March. At this conference, Jasveen was a voice for both Canadians and youth, bringing a unique perspective in conversations at this platform.
Jasveen believes education and awareness of environmental issues are of utmost importance, as many communities don’t understand the connection between their region and climate change. Her work shows real impact that is constantly overcoming barriers of communication within the environmental community.
Jasveen went on an expedition to Antarctica with Student On Ice (SOI), where she learned more about the fragility and importance of protecting such isolated places like the Polar regions.
Jasveen is currently part of the 2018 Ocean Bridge cohort, an initiative by Ocean Wise and the Government of Canada. As one of forty youth from across Canada, Jasveen is working to connect Canadian youth from coast to coast to coast to make a difference towards ocean conservation.